tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS February 17, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm EST
>> pelley: tonight, america on ice. sliding on it, sailing through it ducking under it, and leaving thousands in the cold and dark. the west virginia disaster raises new fears about railway accidents waiting to happen. the jury hears what the gunman told police after he shot "american sniper" chris kyle. and it's not heav heaven. it's iowa. the hawkeye discovery that has some folks on cloud 9. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: it's dangerously cold in much of the country, and this summed it up for us. in new jersey, a teenaged girl ventured out on to the ocean ice in sandy hook bay.
she fell in, but first responders were willing to risk their lives in order to save hers. temperatures tonight will be well below freezing deep into the south. at least 11 deaths are blamed on this storm that brought snow from tennessee to new england. more than 400,000 homes and businesses are without power. we have a team of correspondents covering the relentless wilderness. first, jericka duncan in boston. >> reporter: for boston commuters, nearly 1.5 million daily, this is the new normal-- crammed on to crowded shuttle buses as their trains remain entombed in snow. pat mccrory's commute of 20 minutes took more than four hours. >> i need to do something, and it's not acceptable. >> we want to clean down there. >> reporter: desperate to clear the tracks the boston transit authority is paying union workers and using prison inmates to join the shovel brigade. it could be a month before the
entire transit system is back on a full schedule. every task that was once are you routine here has become nearly impossible. north of boston, this building in flames was right across the street from the local firehouse but the i hydrants were buried and by the time firefighters dug them out-- some by hand it's building was a total loss. chief greg gagnon: >> the guys are all iced up. the lines are icing up. ed roadway is iced up. it compounds the problem. >> these are directly over the front door. >> reporter: today city inspectors went door to door urging home owners owners to knock down icicles and clear rooftops in danger of collapse. they've gotten snow in 18 of the last 23 days, more than 95 inches in season. even navigating the harbor has become a challenge. we traveled with u.s. congratulations captain jesse deery as his vessel cut a path for essential deliveries. >> we had liquid petroleum gas.
we have liquid natural gas coming into this port. all those things that people use to keep warm during this time of year, so, you know, keeping this port open is critical. >> reporter: there is light snow in the forecast over the next two days. scott, meteorologists here are also keeping a close eye on a system that could bring more snow saturday into sunday. >> pelley: jericka duncan in boston again for us tonight. gericka, thanks very much. theithia, new york, tourism board angered ski resort operators by posting this online "surrender to winter" and inviting tourists to instead visit key west, florida. it was in the mid-70 there is today. but in other parts of the south it isa a lot koheler, and here's vicente arenas. >> reporter: the ice that blanketed roads across seven states made the morning a white-knuckled commute. this is what it looked like in virginia.
hundreds of others also collided in the treacherous conditions. interstates in oklahoma and kentucky were brought to a crawl. at least five people have died in the south, and with another winter blast on the way, north carolina governor pat mccrory says the troubles aren't over yet. >> we're used to the carolina sunshine coming right back. that's not going to happen. >> reporter: they're also battling ice from above. >> oh! stop! >> reporter: in tennessee, the extra weight split a tree in half. >> oh, my god. >> reporter: it nearly crushed a man and his dog. sheets of ice came crashing down from 48 stories high in downtown charlotte. crews are now scrambling to restore power in north carolina as thousands of homes are facing a night of freezing temperatures without heat. liz and her son lost power at 5:00 a.m. >> i'm hoping they get it on before bedtime. then we won't have to worry about being cold at night.
>> reporter: and here in liz's neighborhood, these tree branches had to be trimmed from the power lines above me. to get the electricity working again. and, scott, more than 1,000 extra utility workers had to be brought to north carolina to deal with this severe weather. >> pelley: vicente thanks very much. in washington, only five inches closed most of the federal government but not our d.c. bureau where chip reid ventured out to learn exactly why this winter has been so brutal. >> reporter: with temperatures in the teens in washington d.c., the c.n.o. canal is frozen solid. so are tens of millions of people from manto the carolinas. >> and now to add insult to injury, there's been some of the coldest air in the last couple of decades inveiled the northeast from the arctic. >> reporter: dave robinson is professor of climatology at rutgers university. he says what's behind it all is the polar vortex. >> the polar vortex is essentially the coldest air found in the northern
hemisphere, and it's situated up in the arctic during the bulk of the winter, but occasionally, a lobe of that will dip south above the jet stream and allow that cold air down into the mid-atlantic states. stiementz last winter it was into the northern plains. >> reporter: but while the polar vortex has pushed that mass of frigid air south in eastern part of the country it's moved in the opposite direction out west, bringing warm dry weather. >> we really have a snow drought out west. we swroant that water available for irigration and drinking water out west as we go into next summer. >> reporter: robinson says the worst could be yet to come scott, in the form of flooding, if that ice pack in new england melts too quickly. >> pelley: chip reid in the capital tonight. chip thanks. following up now on last night's lead story fire kept investigators away from that train that exploded yesterday in west virginia. it derailed carrying three
million gallons of crude from north dakota's backan oil field. here's jeff pegues. >> reporter: as many as 28 of the 109 cars went off the track several ruptured leaking crude oil. 911 calls sounded alarm. 20 of the tankers caught fire. the explosions and blaze were so strong, they forced more than 100 residents from their homes. according to the national transportation safety board the oil likely seeped into the kanawha river even though testing by the local water company has known shone non-detectable levels. as a precaution, water to certain areas was shut off and other residents were advised to conserve and boil their supply. the train was traveling from north dakota to a a refinery in virginia. most of the cars were carrying backan crude. the oil is highly combustible. in 2013, 47 people died in
quebec after a train carrying backan crude derailed. that same year another crash sent flames shooting into the sky in north dakota, and in 2014, it happened in lynchburg, virginia. older rail cars have been prone to punctures and the industry is moving towards tank cars with thicker shells but it was those upgrade cars that exploded yesterday in west virginia. it's not clear if this derailment will lead to changes, to new rules for crude oil transport submit to the white house for revee earlier this month. scott, some members of congress have been calling for the rules to be finalized as quickly as possible. >> pelley: jeff, thank you. in another important story today, tomorrow was supposed to be a historic day for millions of illegal immigrants. they would be able to begin to apply for legal status under immigration reform that president obama implemented by executive action over the objections of congress. but a federal judge's ruling has now put all of that on hold, and
major garrett is at the white house. >> reporter: the 123-page ruling halts implementation of president obama's policy to shield up to five million undocumented immigrants from deportation. judge andrew hanen a george w. bush appointee ruled a lawsuit brought by 26 states to block the executive action should go forward. hanen said the president had overreached and that the policy would have burdened state with "several million dollars in mandatory costs." the department of homeland security was scheduled to begin accepting applications for temporary legal status from some undocumented immigrants tomorrow. that's been canceled. but the administration has said deporting these groups is not a priority. the president today vowed a swift appeal. >> i'm confident that it is well within my authority, and the tradition of the executive branch's prosyou can porrial discretion. >>discretion. >> reporter: the president said congress' republican
majority could end this legal uncertainty by passing an immigration bill he could sign. the republicans countered this showed the president acted outside the law and the administration should now back down. >> pelley: major, thank you. moving on now to ukraine, the fighting there intensified even as the cease-fire was ignored. rebels armed by russia are fighting ukrainian troops for control of the east, and clarissa ward is following this. >> reporter: the cease-fire may have been in place for three days but the guns have not stayed silent. both sides were supposed to pull back their heavy weapons today, but there was heavy fighting again in the town of debaltseve where pro-russian separatists may have encircled and trapped as many as 8,000 ukrainian troops. for week rebels have been fighting against ukrainian forces for control of this strategic transport hub. the separatists already hold a huge swath of eastern ukraine along russia's border,
controlling debaltseve is key to supplying the rebels. today, the separatists claim to hold 80% of the town. scores of ukrainian soldiers appear to have been taken prisoner. others have been warned to surrender or die. but on a visit to hungary today russian president vladimir putin talked of peace. he said that the cease-fire could still hold. "i'm manufacture an optimist than a pessimist. quiet and calm has set in elsewhere, and we should finish the issue of the encircled troops andave lives," he said. "move on. don't get fixated on." when asked about the possibility of the u.s. supplying weapons to the ukrainian military, president putin said that it is already happening and that no good can come of it. but, scott, the u.s. has not made any such decision yesterday. >> pelley: clarissa ward reporting from our london newsroom tonight. claris athank you. today, cbs news obtained a rare photo of the most wanted
terrorist in the world, the leader of isis, abu bakr al-baghdadia. the picture was taken by the u.s. military in 2004 when al-baghdadi was imprisoned at camp bucca in iraq. at least 12 men who did time there went on to become top isis leaders. the prosecution rested today in the trial of the man charged with murdering former navy seal chris kyle. the former marine is mounting an insanity defense. manuel bojorquez is in stephenville texas. >> reporter: this was the night eddie routh arrested. video from the back of the patrol car was shown in court today. the judge has restrict the use of audio outside the courtroom but jurors heard as routh told police "i've been so paranoid and schizophrenic all day. i don't know what to even think of the world right now. i don't know if i'm insane or sane." officer flavio salazar was behind the wheel. he told jurors, "i noticed
whenever there was a crowd around or some people talking to him, he seemed to be distraught, but whenever we'd close the squad car doors, he seemed to just kind of be laid back and relaxed." at one point routh laid down. just hours before, he had shot and killed navy seal chris kyle. >> i got a military-age male. >> reporter: who is portrayed in the film american sniper,' and kyle's friend chad littlefield. the men had tried to hospital troubled slrn and took him to a shooting range two years ago where routh opened fire on them. prosecutors must show routh knew right from wrong for a murder conviction. on monday, jurors saw this taped confession. routh said he shot kyle first and add "if i did not take down his soul, he was going to take down mine." the defense argues routh is not guilty by reason of insanity and this afternoon called his mother joadle routh to testify. routh's mother sailed he was diagnosed with posttraumatic
stress disorder after serving in the marines. she pleaded for him not to be released from the v.a. hospital in january of 2013, just weeks before the killings because she felt he was not ready. >> pelley: manuel bojorquez in stephenville texas tonight. manuel thanks. do some states make it too easy for parents to refuse vaccinations? and desperate moments for a driver when the cbs evening news continues.
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>> pelley: the measles outbreak has grown to at least 182 cases in 18 states and the district of columbia. in oregon parents have been warned to get their children vaccinated my tomorrow or they may face expulsion from school. ben tracy found in the past it's been easy for parents there to refuse vaccines. >> welcome to the oregon health authority vaccine education model. >> reporter: the state of oregon is making jolynn reynolds watch this. >> oregon parents who do not want their children to be vaccinate -- >> reporter: she's claiming a philosophical exemption, allowing her kids to go to school without the vaccinations. >> i am their parents and i am in charge with that decision and i would sure hate to inject them with something that has a potential high risk of hurting them. >> reporter: is it possible that watching that video would change your mind? >> not even the slightest. >> reporter: in 2000 about 1%
of oregon kindergartners were not fully vaccinated for philosophical or religious reasons. last year it jumped to 7%, the highest rate in the country. at some oregon schools, more than half the kids lack protection from diseases such as measles, mumps, and rubella. as a doctor, what do you think of that? >> scares the living daylights out of me. >> elizabeth steiner hayward is an oregon state senator and proposing legislation to eliminate all nonmedical exempt yons. you don't buy the argument there's a personal belief? >> no, because a belief has to be based on something. you don't have to demonstrate that you really understand the issue, that you've really done valid research on this. you just have to say, "nah, don't think it's the right idea for my kid." >> reporter: wednesday is the deadline for oregon's school-aged kids to get their required vaccinations or claim an exemption. jolynn reynolds is furious she may soon be forced to get her kids their shots. >> you can try to teach my child. you can educate my child but
you can't force my child and you can't force me. >> reporter: now oregon could become the first state to revoke the so-called personal belief exemption and, scott lawmakers in both california and washington state are considering similar changes. >> pelley: ben tracy in oregon for us tonight. ben, thanks very much. hidden for centuries-- rare gems are revealed at the bottom of the world. that's ahead. (vo) get this close with beneful healthy smile. dental snacks that help keep teeth clean and breath fresh. with soft, meaty centers and teeth-cleaning textures, it's dental that tastes so good. try healthy smile during pet dental health month.
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>> pelley: new york yankee alex rodriguez apologized today. he's coming off a suspension for using banned substances. in a handwritten note rodriguez said, "i accept the fact that many of you will not believe my apology or anything that i say at this point. i understand why and that's on me." in new zealand, a woman drove her car off a park lot into a harbor, and she jumped into the back to reach an air pocket. a police officer smashed the window with a rock, and he and a partner pulled her out. the car sank less than a minute later. we see the tips of icebergs all the time, but have a look at what lies beneath. off antarctica a photographer found an iceberg that had flipped its underside, and a gem-like display of blues and greens. many icebergs look like this
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>> pelley: some people woish stars. others shoot for the moon, and then there are those folks mark phillips tells us about. for them, the silver lining is in the clouds. >> cumulus means stacked or heaped. >> reporter: clouds, gavin pretor-pinney feels, get a bad rap. >> they generally are considered a negative things. when there are bad news in store there are clouds on the horizon. >> reporter: but the founder of the cloud appreciation society and his 37,000 members around the world have their heads in the clouds and think that's a good thing. >> they associate them with dreemg. they associate them with freedom, freedom of the imagination. >> reporter: imagine this one: >> wait a minute, that's two cats dancing the salsa. ( laughter ) >> reporter: he takes his audiences back to their
childhood seeing the shapes they saw as kids. >> say you're in love and you look up and what do you see? >> reporter: or when they got older. >> or maybe you see a topless sunbather. >> reporter: or this one that looks like-- >> abominable snowman going to rob a bank. >> reporter: but it's not all about funny shapeses. is that the grim reaper? in their constant cloud gazing, gavin feels they have made an important discovery, a brand new cloud, one that looks like it was cooked up by the special effects department of a disaster movie, one so rare meteorologists have never classified it before. >> this cloud looks a bit like as if you're down underneath the water looking up at the sea surface on a turbulent day. >> reporter: the new cloud was first noticed in iowa by jane wiggins, a wedding photographer who took its picture at & sent it in. >> i knew i was capturing something special.
it looked like something turbulent was inator, although you couldn't feel anything turbulent, which was kind of cool. >> reporter: so cool, the society gave it a cool latin name-- undulatus asperatus. -- and submitted it to the u.n.'s world meteorological organization, which is poised to officially recognize it, a big deal in the cloud-spotter world. >> if it goes in there yeah it would be the first new type of cloud since 1951. >> reporter: is it also nsome ways, a justification of all the time you waste looking at clouds? >> the funny thing is you don't need justification. >> reporter: you just need a little blue sky thinking. mark phillips, cbs news, somerset county, england. >> pelley: beautiful planet. that's the cbs evening news for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, good night.
a new confirmed case of measles in our area, the actions health officials have already taken. >> all this snow in d.c. is costing some drivers their cold hard cash. >> reporter: this is bruce johnson, big props to the city for getting most of the snow up, but if you were ticketed and towed during the snow emergency, you owe the city a lot school is closed, kids are sledding, but with the weather coming up a lot of kids are wondering if they'll get to do this again later in the week. >> and it's not just kids home from school enjoying the snow. good evening. i'm jan jeffcoat. >> i'm derek mcginty. we've already gotten the old one-two punch in the weather department, so what the heck is one more? now round 3 is on the way. >> first alert chief meteorologist topper shutt is tracking some fresh arctic air. how cold is it going to get,
top? >> round 3 is on the way. look ahead, snow showers first leading edge of the arctic air. 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. a trace to 2 inches and much like saturday, they can be intense. we might hear the rumble of thunder, does not take more than five to 10 minutes to put a coating on the roads, so be advised. another arctic blast thursday and friday behind the front, coldest possibly since 1994. the suburbs could go below freezing thursday night. a wintery mix possible saturday and saturday night, probably starts as snow, turns to sleet and freezing rain, probably goes to all rain sunday. we'll watch that very carefully because this is pretty serious arctic air. there's a lot more moisture with this storm. 6 a.m. tomorrow, you'll need your sunglasses to start, a brutally cold start. we understand up upper 20s, around 30 by -- we end up upper, around 30 by lunchtime.